Meatloaf, mac and cheese, sloppy Joes–everyone has a favorite comfort food. Now, I love a bowl of creamy mac and cheese, and there will always be a special place in my heart for my mom’s cheeseburger meatloaf (it has a swirl of cheese, fried onions, and mustard!). But when I think about my ultimate comfort food–the meal I always turn to for a taste of my childhood–it’s gotta be white people tacos.
You know what I’m talking about! Completely inauthentic tacos made from the Old El Paso kit. Sour cream, cheddar cheese, mild salsa (from a jar, obviously), and often, inexplicably, black olives (WTF). Sprinkle these on top of some ground beef with “taco seasoning,” wrap it all up in a flour tortilla, and you’ve got yourself some white people tacos. Certainly not gourmet, but so damn good. One bite, and you’re instantly transported back to taco night in fifth grade.
Lately, I keep seeing these commercials on Food Network; I can hardly express the depths of my love for them. The kids are ADORABLE, and the premise of these ads is both intentionally and unintentionally hilarious–Mexican people don’t eat this stuff! Regardless, I get such a kick out of the commercials that I watched them both again online and then made white people tacos for dinner (with a few changes from the way mom used to make them).
First, I made mine vegetarian by using TVP instead of meat. I love using TVP because you don’t even need to cook it; just rehydrate it with some boiling water. I mix the taco seasoning into the dry TVP before adding the water because it’s easier to incorporate it that way. The texture and flavor is actually really similar to what you’d get from using meat, because the prominent flavor is really the taco seasoning. I also added sliced jalapenos to my tacos. Everybody knows that white people hate spicy things, so this is really bucking tradition. Finally, instead of chopped raw onion, I sauteed some beer onions. Slightly brown some salted onions in olive oil and pour a splash of beer over the top. Let it reduce completely for caramelized, sweet and savory flavor.
I wrapped mine up instead of folding them taco-style. What can I say? I’m lazy and I like eating with one hand! It frees the other hand up for a PBR (you only need a tiny bit for those beer onions).
Riblet couldn’t resist the smell of the WPTs, and waited patiently next to my chair in hopes that something would fall on the floor.
His efforts were rewarded with a Ribby-sized pinch of TVP: